beauty

Ashy Bines wants you to stop comparing yourself to others. There's just one problem.

Ashy Bines is one of Australia’s most well-known fitness personalities.

Her 12 week clean eating program, known as the Ashy Bines Bikini Body Challenge, claims to give “every girl [the] chance to get the fabulous figure she always wanted.” With this philosophy, the 28-year-old mum-of-one has gradually built a following of close to a million women.

Bines’ popular social media accounts are typically focused on health and weight loss inspiration. A glance through her Instagram feed reveals countless quotes about fitness and hard work, as well as hundreds of photos showcasing her figure and active lifestyle.

But on Saturday, she shared a very different kind of message with her fans: she urged the women who follow her page to stop comparing themselves to others.

Since when is it a competition for who has it harder ? Or has it eaiser ? Who’s luckier ? Skinnier ? More wealthy ? More tanned ? Better this or that? . SERIOUSLY over girls comparing their life’s and bodies , diets, money and relationships with those they see on social media. . Firstly You think you may know these people you follow but hate to burst your bubble you really don’t , so stop assuming because they post cute pics or bright fun pics that their life is perfect and they are happy 24/7 with no stress or drama. . WE ALL HAVE PROBLEMS : struggles and emotions every day. Stop thinking you have it the worst and everyone else is blitzing their way through life. Stop assuming, judging and critiquing everyone’s life’s and put your energy into YOURS. Being the best YOU. Helping others and living and loving YOUR life. Get back into being grateful for what you do have instead of focusing on what you don’t have. . #rantover ???? happy Friday lovers xx . Thanks to @chelseabrady for snapping this pic of me in @tonedbyashybines this afternoon ????

A photo posted by Snapchat : Ashybines1 (@ashybines) on

“Since when is it a competition for who has it harder? Or has it easier? Who’s luckier? Skinnier? More wealthy? More tanned? Better this or that?” she started.

“SERIOUSLY over girls comparing their life’s [sic] and bodies, diets, money and relationships with those they see on social media.

“Firstly you think you may know these people you follow, but hate to burst your bubble you really don’t, so stop assuming because they post cute pics or bright fun pics that their life is perfect and they are happy 24/7 with no stress or drama.

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“WE ALL HAVE PROBLEMS: struggles and emotions every day. Stop thinking you have it the worst and everyone else is blitzing their way through life. Stop assuming, judging and critiquing everyone’s life’s and put your energy into YOURS. Being the best YOU. Helping others and living and loving YOUR life. Get back into being grateful for what you do have instead of focusing on what you don’t have.”

Ashy Bines. (Image: Instagram)

The impassioned message received more than 11,000 likes and hundreds of comments supporting her sentiment.

But for many of us, there's one problem with what Bines said - and it has nothing to do with her personally. It's to do with the broader concept of #fitspiration and selling health and fitness products that benefit from women's tendency to compare themselves with others.

Unconsciously, Bines and others like her rely on the fact that girls compare "their lives, bodies, diets," with people they see on social media. That's why weight loss gurus plaster their toned bodies all over their websites, and why wellness bloggers post pictures of every meal they eat.

The intended thought process is quite clear: you see something that represents who you'd like to be, you realise you fall short (because we all do), you wonder how you can become the person you want to be, and you buy the product/plan that claims to deliver it.

Image via abbikinichallenge.com.
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That's it. That's at the crux of a devastating number of industries.

"Get back into being grateful for what you do have instead of focusing on what you don't have," says Bines. But women aren't trained to think this way about their bodies. We're always on a 'journey.' We're always on the road to that 'transformation.' We're never good enough. Bines didn't create that culture, but she does benefit from it.

If we were perfectly grateful for what we had, there wouldn't be any power in the now-iconic before and after pictures that sell Bines' products. They're so influential because we're always focusing on what we don't have, and always searching for ways to bridge the gap between who we are today and who we ultimately want to be.

The Queenslander's reminder to "stop assuming because [someone posts] ... bright fun pics that their life is perfect," also stands in stark contrast with the industry she belongs to.

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Like all those pedaling a health and fitness product on social media, Bines is somewhat required to advertise her own happiness. Why would I buy a diet plan off someone who didn't seem happy? Part of buying any lifestyle product is buying a fantasy: Life after a weight loss plan is always sunny. My hair is infinitely longer. My teeth are whiter. I'm also taller, somehow.

This is not Bines' fault, yet there's something ironic about a person who sells health and fitness plans to women encouraging them to stop comparing themselves to others. If all women felt comfortable in their own skin, and weren't affected by ideals of thinness and attractiveness, a great deal of the industry would collapse.

On a personal level, I'm sure Ashy Bines does want women to stop comparing themselves to others and feel good enough as they are. But the industry she works for encourages exactly the opposite.

And it will take far more than a single post on social media to change that.

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